The cost of housing has increased this past year like never before in Central Texas. New homes we were building just a few years ago and selling in the low $100,000 range have now increased, selling for well over $200,000. Those price increases have certainly taken many potential homebuyers out of the market for new homes, and it has taken many potential buyers of existing homes out of the market as well. Quality existing homes are generally starting above $150,000.
So, what are we to do as an organization that has prided itself on the ability to place low and moderate-income clients into quality housing in Central Texas? And with property tax assessments increasing significantly, what are we going to do to assist families in being able to stay in their homes? I can assure you that there are no easy answers to these questions, and there are no quick fixes.
The answers will need to be multifaceted, but many potential homebuyers are now simply being priced out of today’s housing market. For them, renting will have to simply continue as a way of life. But we should continue to strive to put into place housing purchase options that will work for families that are just out of reach for the current market. Here are some options that we are now exploring:
Shared Equity Housing – This is an option that will allow buyers to purchase housing that will always remain affordable. To make this happen, the homeowner agrees to own the home and not the land that it sits on. Also, when the homeowner sells, they have to split the equity gain with the landowner, which will be us as the land banker. This option will work for many who would not otherwise be able to purchase a home.
Condominium/Townhomes – The ability to place more housing units on one large lot will certainly lower housing costs. The trade-off will be in less privacy, as you’ll be sharing the yard area.
Smaller Lot/Smaller Homes – Smaller lot and home equals less cost ─ might be good as a starter home.
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) – Separate small home on the same lot as the single-family home ─ will work for family members wanting a separate place to live.
These are just some of the options we are taking a look at in order to continue serving low and moderate-income homebuyers. We welcome your input and feedback as we move forward.